The Human-Connection Edition Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tim Cook: ‘AR Will Pervade Our Entire Lives’, by Elaine Burke, Silicon Republic

Interestingly, the tech CEO sees benefits for AR and connecting people, more than other available technologies. “I think it’s something that doesn’t isolate people. We can use it to enhance our discussion, not substitute it for human connection, which I’ve always deeply worried about in some of the other technologies.”

Cook is also “extremely excited” about tech in healthcare realm. “I’m seeing that this intersection has not yet been explored very well. There’s not a lot of tech associated with the way people’s healthcare is done unless they get into very serious trouble.”

Exclusive: Apple Dropped Plan For Encrypting Backups After FBI Complained - Sources, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

Apple Inc dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company’s iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The tech giant’s reversal, about two years ago, has not previously been reported. It shows how much Apple has been willing to help U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, despite taking a harder line in high-profile legal disputes with the government and casting itself as a defender of its customers’ information.


NapBot Apple Watch Sleep Tracker Adds iPhone-free App, New Complications, Awake Trends, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple Watch sleep tracking app NapBot is out today with a big update that brings some handy new features including background tracking so it can work without iPhone, daily notifications, support for all complication types, redesigned Siri watch face card, trend for awake minutes, and more.


Who Do Smart Cities Serve? It Depends On Who You Are, by Chris Gilliard, Fast Company

That “click” sound is familiar to me. I grew up in Detroit in the early 1980s, around the time when car door power locks were becoming standard, and I would assert that for probably any Black man who grew up in any American city at that time, it was a common experience to walk down a street and hear that sound (especially at night). Click. Click. Click. Even during the summer, folks would have their windows down and still lock their car doors as I walked by. This performance was not particularly secure, mind you. If my intentions were actually to harm someone sitting in their car, a locked door with an open window is a very ineffective barrier. But the sound perhaps served more as an audible and technological reminder of how I, along with other Black men, were seen by the culture. And it was inescapable. There was no “opting out” of this form of what we now refer to as “security theater”: practices that present the illusion of increasing security or safety, but have no meaningful effect.

Digital surveillance has grown exponentially in the last few years, and with it the scope and scale of security apparatus deployed across urban environments. How does the visibility—or invisibility—of these technologies elicit performative acts from people at each end of the surveilling gaze? How is one expected to act as the person watching, or as the person being watched? In the case of the mechanical door lock, the click emboldens a driver, making them feel safer, while at the same time signaling to those outside that the driver is aware of their presence. For the person outside of the car, the effect is quite different: The click signifies that you are seen, and indicates that you are perceived as a threat. A seemingly discrete act transforms not only the user of the tech and the person who is targeted by their act, but even the spatial context around it.

Apple Partner Pegatron To Set Up Production In Vietnam, by Debby Wu, Bloomberg

Taiwan’s Pegatron Corp. plans to set up production facilities in Vietnam, according to people familiar with the matter, becoming the latest Apple Inc. assembly partner to establish a presence in the Southeast Asian nation as they diversify beyond China.

Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Invested In A Shower Head, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Tim Cook rarely invests his time and money in products without the Apple Inc. logo. But when he tried a prototype shower head at his local gym about five years ago, he made an exception.

Philip Winter, who helped create the Nebia shower head, recalls moving to San Francisco in 2014 to get his idea off the ground. The shower head sprays in a way that uses less water, but still keeps people warm. Crafted from materials including aluminum, the system looks like something Apple might design, if it made bathroom hardware.

Bottom of the Page

It will be a shame if Apple truly stopped working on encrypted iCloud backups. It is a further shame that cloud backups is not something that third-party apps can truly offer in iOS.


Thanks for reading.